Scot­tish fin­ish­ers have lost £30 mil­lion in un­der a year, says QMS

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FARMING -

The de­cline in prime cat­tle prices has cost Scot­tish fin­ish­ers around £30 mil­lion since last Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to Qual­ity Meat Scot­land.

The levy body’s direc­tor of eco­nomic ser­vices, Stu­art Ash­worth, told a packed­out red meat cri­sis meet­ing at Thain­stone, In­verurie, that prices were down about 12.5% on last year – the equiv­a­lent of £200 less per an­i­mal.

Ex­plain­ing the com­plex­ity of the prob­lem, Mr Ash­worth said sup­plies were up at a time when sales were down and pro­ces­sors were strug­gling to sell all parts of a beast.

“The vol­ume of prime beef on the mar­ket has in­creased by 1.6%, and most of that has been down to in­creases in car­case weights,” he said.

“A lot of the growth is down to the slaugh­ter of heifers.

“That’s a con­cern for the long-term fu­ture of the in­dus­try.”

He said con­sumer buy­ing habits were chang­ing and sales of burg­ers, roasts and steaks were down.

“Re­search shows 21% of UK shop­pers de­fine them­selves as eco-ac­tive and one of the things they are do­ing is low­er­ing their spend on meat, es­ti­mated to be down 6%,” added Mr Ash­worth.

He said pro­ces­sors were strug­gling to find a mar­ket for of­fal, hides and ren­der­ing ma­te­ri­als, and this was di­rectly im­pact­ing far­m­gate prices.

Stu­art Ash­worth speak­ing at the meet­ing

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